Man Shot Dead for Texting at Movie

Suspect is a retired Tampa police captain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 13, 2014 2:19 PM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2014 7:46 PM CST
2 Shot at Tampa Bay Area Movie Theater
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, front, walks out to update reporters after an argument between patrons over texting sparked a shooting that left one person dead and another injured in a Pasco County movie theater Monday Jan. 13.   (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Brendan Fitterer)

An argument over texting in a Florida movie theater today triggered a retired Tampa police captain to fatally shoot a man sitting in front of him, as about 25 horrified moviegoers looked on, sheriff's officials said. "Somebody throws popcorn. I'm not sure who threw the popcorn," said Charles Cummings, who was about to watch the movie Lone Survivor. "And then bang, he was shot." Curtis Reeves, 71, has been charged with second-degree murder; Pasco County Sheriff's officials said the shooting happened when Reeves asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to stop texting at the theater in Wesley Chapel, a suburb about a half hour north of downtown Tampa.

Reeves and his wife were sitting behind Oulson and his wife. Oulson told Reeves that he was texting with his 3-year-old daughter, Cummings said. An initial argument escalated, and Cummings said the men started raising their voices and popcorn was thrown. Authorities said Reeves took out a gun, and Oulson's wife put her hand over her husband, and that's when Reeves fired his weapon, striking Nichole Oulson in the hand and her husband in the chest; her injuries aren't considered life-threatening. A man sitting next to the shooter grabbed the gun out of his hand, and the suspect did not attempt to get away, Cummings said. "It ended almost as quickly as it started," said sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin. (More shooting stories.)

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